Description: This introduction to palliative care describes current models of delivering palliative care across care settings and explores opportunities in the setting of healthcare policy reform for palliative care to improve outcomes for patients, families, and healthcare institutions.
Purpose: Providing a platform on which to build the reform discussion, the book focuses on 16 key areas where palliative care could have a substantial role in reform and improvement, as well as real-world policy options to help accomplish these goals. Given the aging of the population, the current climate of healthcare reform, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the objectives of the book are both critical and essential for an understanding of the potential impact of palliative care. Each chapter is thoughtful and thorough, providing clarity as it examines the issue.
Audience: It is written for a broad and sophisticated audience. It is a roadmap for policy and program design, and is therefore a useful resource for policymakers and healthcare administrators. The book, and specifically the first chapter, "When More is Less: Overuse of Medical Services," should be required reading for nurse practitioner and medical students. For seasoned clinicians, the book confirms the daily experience of caring for the elderly. The authors and editors are respected clinicians and academicians in their fields.
Features: Starting with the critical topic of overtreatment, every chapter in the book provides meaningful information and, depending on their role in healthcare (policy maker, academician, clinician), readers will likely have different favorite chapters. As a practicing nurse practitioner in both geriatrics and palliative care, I found the first chapter a refreshing acknowledgement of the challenges of overtreatment in the current model of caring for the elderly. Additional topics discussing disparities in access to palliative care, quality outcomes and measures, and models of care delivery and coordination are just several examples of the valuable information this book contains. For readers exploring possible solutions to managing an aging and frail population in their institutions, the book provides examples of models currently in place and notes their specific strengths and weaknesses. While there is some overlap of content between chapters, it is minimal and, for readers not familiar with palliative care, this does serve as a refresher.
Assessment: This is an exceptional book. Other books in the field examine palliative care and people with serious illness, but none do so in the context of policy, healthcare reform, and examination of possible solutions. This is an excellent resource and guidebook for those looking to improve palliative care in the future.